Though we did travel around a bit, as you will see, our home-base was the beautiful HEART compound in a northern suburb of Nairobi, Kenya. This is the part I hate to share, in case there is someone out there who donated to our trip, and now they will think we had it so cushy. After some of the trying days we had, though, we needed some place comfortable to come home to.
A European business man built the compound to accommodate his associates for business as well as for pleasure. It was his vision to offer his partners a comfortable place to regroup before and after safaris into the wilds of Kenya.
Unfortunately, he passed away before he was really able to take advantage of the facilities. His family sold the estate to two HEART board members in 2003 for an extremely reasonable price. For the following four years, HEART rented the lodge for $1 a year. In 2007, however, one of these two individuals asked to be paid off for his share (which came to $190,000). Through generous donations and the grace of God, Vickie Winkler, founder of HEART, was able to raise the required funds.
The compound consists of four core buildings. The main lodge has a dining room, two large offices, and seven bedrooms all with attached bathrooms. There are two beautiful homes on the grounds, which accommodate Vickie Winkler and other fulltime missionaries. The last of the chief buildings has a large commercial kitchen, laundry facilities, tons of storage and housing for the fulltime staff.
Not only are the buildings homey and spacious, the grounds are meticulously kept, with breathtakingly beautiful landscaping and gardens. But every time we went anywhere, it was easy to remember where we were, as a large metal gate always opened before us and clanged shut after us. The world beyond the gate was filled with dirt, crime, poverty, and an incredible amount of sorrow.